Appointment With Destiny Chapter 2
Sephiroth raised his face to the sky. "I call on the wisdom of Jenova, to break the bonds of protection that keep this girl apart from me. Grant me the power to break those bonds and render her abilities useless that she must surrender herself to my rule as my wife!"
"WHAT?" Despite her fear, Aeris felt a flash of anger. "Surrender myself to you? Never! Who do you think you are? Rule me? You'll never rule me."
Sephiroth pointed at her. "Sei nuh mal ke tah! If you chose to challenge me, defend yourself!"
"Tell me how!" shouted Aeris. "You tell me what to do and I'll fight you to the last breath in my body!"
He raised his face to the sky again. "Le lee lee, uh thal! Mal ka!"
Aeris opened her mouth to speak, but stopped as a strange feeling came over her. She felt light-headed. Everything around her took on a strange texture, as though nothing was real. She tried to take a step and stumbled. She caught herself before she could fall. What was happening to her? Her skin felt as electricity was running over it in waves. Aeris looked up as Sephiroth lowered his head and pointed at her again.
"Re ka!" he shouted.
A mist formed around Aeris' body.
"What's happening?" Her throat was suddenly dry. "What's happening to me?"
"Re kal!" shouted Sephiroth.
The mist snapped and was gone. Aeris felt as if she'd been surrounded by a giant balloon that had suddenly popped. She hugged her arms against her body trembling.
"The first of the three bonds of protection is gone," said Sephiroth. His eyes were glowing with a life of their own. "You have two more chances to save yourself."
Aeris slid along the barrier moving to the left away from him. "Let me out of here!"
Sephiroth followed her with his eyes.
"Don't look at me like that!" she cried. "Let me out of here."
"If you will not defend yourself, I call upon the wisdom of Jenova to break the second bond of protection," he said, raising his arms to the sky again. Thunder roared in Aeris' ears.
"That's what you think!" she shouted.
Dropping to her knees, Aeris grabbed a stick and started clawing at the ground near the edge of the barrier. If she couldn't push her way through the wall, she'd go under it. The stick broke in her hands. She tried digging with her hands but the soil was unyielding. Even the grass refused to be let itself be pulled out by the roots. Aeris stood up and turned to Sephiroth.
"You're doing this!"
Sephiroth ignored her as he chanted his spell.
Aeris ran toward him, but stopped when he lowered his head to look at her.
"Lin no eln va ka!" he said.
The mist covered Aeris again. She shivered and it disappeared with a loud snap.
"Stop it!" she shouted. "What are you doing to me?"
"The second bond has been broken," said Sephiroth. "You have one more chance to defend yourself and then you belong to me."
Aeris backed away from him. The wind was howling now. Sephiroth stood like an elegant statue, his hair and cape blowing around him. His eyes never left hers as she moved further away.
"Leave me alone," she whimpered. "Leave me alone and let me go home."
"The time of my triumph is at hand," he said.
"No!" cried Aeris.
Sephiroth began to chant again.
Aeris ran to the barrier again and looked out at her car. How she wished, she'd never been foolish enough to answer the call of a dream. Now she was trapped in this nightmare and she couldn't wake up. The shepherd was coming up the hill with his flock. A crash of thunder made her turn to Sephiroth again.
"Great Jenova," chanted Sephiroth, "Grant me the power to destroy the final bond and claim what is rightfully mine!"
"Rightfully yours?" Aeris felt another flash of anger. "I'm not yours! You don't own me!"
"Ekee, numay, ka!"
A third mist formed around Aeris then exploded silently with a brilliant flash. She was engulfed by a moment of weakness and had to lean against the barrier for support. The wind stopped as suddenly as it had begun. Aeris looked up. The clouds above the barrier dissolved almost as soon as she focused on them. She looked at Sephiroth.
"The battle is over," he said, lowering his arms. "You have lost."
"You call that a battle?" Aeris felt the giddiness fading away.
"It was a battle of magic," he answered. "My mission was to break the three bonds of power that prevent me from removing you from this world. Your mission was to enforce your protection and stop me. So it has been every generation since the first Cetra bride escaped."
"I don't know anything at all about a Cetra bride," she said, irritably. "And I don't have any magic. How could I have fought you with something I don't have?"
"You're wrong," answered Sephiroth, "You have the power, but you don't know how to use it. The bonds of protection are gone. You belong to me now."
"Right!" said Aeris. "So now you think, I'm going to go with you just because you said I have to?"
"That's exactly what I'm saying," he answered, looking slightly amused. "You don't have any reason to be upset. You never belonged here in the first place."
"You have no idea where I belong and you don't have the right to take me anywhere, " said Aeris. She pointed down the hill. "See? That's the shepherd I passed this morning. He just looked at my car, and now he's looking around for me. Why don't you just open this barrier and let me out of here?"
"Your ties to this world ended when the last bond was broken. You are not a part of his existence anymore," said Sephiroth. "Even if I wanted to open the barrier, I couldn't. That's the way the way the curse works. If you lose the battle, you come with me. You don't have a choice."
"We'll see about that!" Aeris pounded her fists against the barrier. "I'm up here! Hey you! I'm up here!"
The shepherd scratched his head. He looked up the hill then turned away.
"What's wrong with you?" shouted Aeris. "I'm right here. I need help. There's a man here, who wants to kidnap me!"
"He can't hear or see you," said a voice close to her ear.
Aeris turned around with a start. Sephiroth was standing uncomfortably close. She moved away from him. He didn't follow.
"This is a magic barrier," he explained. "You're invisible and silent to him."
"I don't believe you." Aeris turned around and pounded on the barrier, but no matter how much she shouted or pounded, the shepherd ignored her. She was about to give up hope when he started up the hill.
"See?" she said to Sephiroth, "He's coming now."
But to her dismay, the shepherd stopped just short of the barrier and looked right through her. He turned and started down the hill again, pulling a cell phone out of his pocket. Aeris couldn't hear what he was saying.
"He acted as if I wasn't here," she said a small voice.
"You're invisible to him," said Sephiroth. He put his sword into his sheath. "It's time to go now Aeris. We're only allowed to stay here as long as it takes to battle. Now that the spell is broken, we must leave now or be trapped in the time stream forever."
"Don't touch me!" Aeris backed away from him. "I'm not going with you."
"You don't have a choice," he said casually. "I understand why you're upset, but there's nothing I can do about it. The battle has been fought and won and you are the prize. We're leaving now."
"I'm not going!" Aeris could feel the cold touch of fear creeping up her spine. "I don't know you and I don't know anything about a curse or any other world. I came here to see the sunrise and I've seen more than I bargained for. Make this wall thing disappear and let me go!"
Every trace of friendliness in Sephiroth's eyes vanished. He frowned at her.
"I've been trying to be patient because you weren't prepared for this, but that's not my problem. The fact remains that I have abided by the rules as they were handed down to me by my father, as they were handed down to him by his father, and so on. One sided, it may have been, but I battled the last Cetra in a contest of spells and won. You WILL me accompany back to our world, you WILL become my wife and I WILL not argue with you about it!"
"Stop talking about me like I'm your property!" cried Aeris backing further away. "You don't own me."
Sephiroth gave her a meaningful smile.
Aeris turned away from him then and ran to the other side of the barrier. When reached the misty wall, she turned and looked back. He wasn't there. Her mouth dropped open. Before she knew what was happening, his arms wrapped around her from behind.
Aeris turned in his arms and found a determined pair of green eyes looking into her own.
"How did you . . ."
Before she could say another word, his arms tightened around her and they rose into the sky like a rocket. She screamed.
"Say goodbye to your world," he said. "You'll never see it again."
Aeris stiffened, then began to struggle. "Let go of me! Let go!"
Sephiroth's eyes were cool.
"If that's what you want."
Seconds later, she was dropping like a stone. The ground seemed to be rushing toward her. There was no way she could survive a fall from this height. Screaming in terror, Aeris plummeted toward her fate.
She didn't want to look down, but Aeris couldn't help herself. Objects on the ground were becoming clearer. Tears were snatched from her eyes by the force of the air rushing by. Her mind struggled to deal with the fact that Sephiroth had dropped her on purpose.
Desperately she closed her eyes and screamed his name.
"Did you call me?"
Aeris opened her eyes. Sephiroth was falling right beside her. There was nothing on his face or in his eyes to show he was the least concerned with the fact that she was going to die. Aeris tried to grab at him but he moved back beyond her reach.
"What do you want?" His tone suggested she'd called him away from an important matter.
She held out her arms. "Don't let me fall!"
"A few minutes ago, you wanted me to let go of you," he said. He glanced toward the ground. "Are you sure you want my help now?"
Aeris risked a glance down and her heart nearly stopped.
"For God's sake Sephiroth, help me!"
He folded his arms. "There's the little matter of a wedding . . . "
"Yes! Yes! Anything you say!" Aeris wondered what it would feel like when her body slammed into the ground. She didn't want to find out, but Sephiroth simply dropped by her side, looking unconcerned. He'll stop himself before I hit the ground, she thought. He'll watch me die, and he won't care.
Even as she convinced herself he'd do nothing, Sephiroth moved closer, putting his arms around her waist. Shaken, Aeris wrapped her arms around his neck and buried her face against his chest. They were too close the ground now. She was going to die but she didn't have to watch.
Instead of the wrenching jar she expected to feel, the pressure of the rushing air gradually lessened. When it slowed to a gentle breeze, she raised her head and looked at Sephiroth. He looked back at her expressionless. Aeris glanced down and froze. They were hovering only a mile or two above the ground.
"Should I let go again?" he asked.
She looked into his eyes for a sign that he was kidding. It wasn't there.
Aeris shook her head.
"I don't know what kind of world this is," said Sephiroth, "But in my world a wife does as she is told. We're not married yet, but I expect you to be obedient and respectful at all times. I will tolerate nothing less! Do you understand me?"
Her heart was still pounding in fear but Aeris felt a flush of anger at his words. She wanted to tell him what she thought of his obedience and what he could do with it, but something in his eyes made her hold her tongue. He might take her lower so he could drop her again. She wouldn't die, but she might break a leg or two. She nodded.
Sephiroth stared at her a moment longer. Her eyes were bright with moisture but her cheeks were dry. There was fear in her eyes, but there a hint of defiance in her too. This girl had spirit. That pleased him. He would have been disappointed if she'd gone weepy and limp on him. Her strength would be an asset to their children. Aeris' gasped and tightened her hold on him as they shot up into the sky again.
The world below dropped away and vanished. A swirling grey mist came out of nowhere and surrounded them in a translucent tube that extended high over their heads. Aeris looked up. Far above them was circle of light. Below them, the tube dropped into a bottomless black well. The whole effect made Aeris feel as they were standing in the core of a gigantic tornado. A gentle breeze inside the tube ruffled her dress, Sephiroth's cape and their hair. Aeris couldn't tell if she and Sephiroth were moving or not.
"What's happening?" she dared to ask.
"We're in the time stream between worlds," answered Sephiroth. "We'll never come this way again, so pay attention to what you see."
The words were barely out of her mouth before a head of a huge beast, a Tyrannosaurs Rex mutant, snapped at them from the other side of the mist. Aeris screamed. Another creature, much larger than a Rex and twice as ugly, brushed against the mist and attacked the first monster.
"Don't worry," said Sephiroth. "They can't reach us in here."
Aeris heard the crunch of bones and the creatures vanished. They were replaced by a barren red wasteland of rocks and sand.
"Where are we?"
"I don't know," answered Sephiroth "This isn't our stop, so we'll never find out."
The barren wasteland gave way to a lush green jungle. A strange bird flew by looking like a peacock with wedding train for a tail. Its feathers were every color in the rainbow.
"How beautiful," said Aeris.
The bird turned its head at the sound of her voice and opened its beak. Expecting an exotic cry or song, Aeris was startled when it spat a stream of fire at them. She cringed.
"I hope we're not stopping here!"
The jungle gave way to a city unlike any Aeris had ever seen before. Everything was made of a pink crystal-like material. The buildings looked more like termite hives than skyscrapers. Walking through the streets and driving strange vehicles, were people who looked like they were even more fragile than their structures. They looked vaguely humanoid. Every one of them was totally transparent. The only way Aeris could tell the males from the females was by the cast of their uppers bodies. Their heads had the impressions of a face, but no real features.
"They look like they would break if I touched them." Aeris watched the little figures in awe.
A glass car careened around a corner too fast. The little glass driver tried to pull it back into his lane but failed. He smashed head on with a car coming from the other direction. Both cars exploded into a shower of flying silvers. One of the drivers was thrown into the middle of the street. He lay there for an instant, then turned red and melted into the pavement. The glass city vanished.
"That was terrible," said Aeris to herself. "He just melted away."
A green countryside appeared next. It reminded Aeris of a golf course.
"This is more like it," she said. "No monsters no dying glass people. I can deal with this."
The countryside faded away. They were in a cave now. A huge hairy beast sat on a large rock in front of them. Aeris gasped and it looked up at them. The human leg in his hand had been torn off at the hip. The upper thigh had a huge bite mark in it. Something moved at his feet. A girl lay there bleeding to death. Her clothes were torn and bloody. She was still alive. "Kill me." Her voice was a harsh whisper.
Aeris found herself shaking Sephiroth. "Help her!"
His gaze was unreadable. "There's nothing we can do."
"Use your sword!"
"You have to," Aeris' face was white.
She looked back at the creature. It dropped the leg and reached for the girl with two huge hairy hands. It opened its mouth, revealing razor sharp teeth. It was going to bite through her torso.
"If I step through the barrier, I'll be trapped in that world forever," said Sephiroth. "He's not the only one of his kind out there. I saw more when I came through the first time. They're very dangerous."
"So?" she challenged. "Are you afraid of him?"
He raised an eyebrow. "If I step through that barrier, you're coming with me."
Aeris pulled from him so fast, she caught Sephiroth off guard, but she pulled too hard. Stumbling back toward the barrier, she tripped over her own feet and landed on her bottom. The ends of her hair slid through the mist. Aeris opened her mouth to speak, but something about the way Sephiroth's eyes widened, made her pause. She turned her head to look back.
The monster had lost interest in the dying girl. Reaching out, he seized a strand of Aeris' hair, wrapped it around his fingers and pulled. Aeris was dragged toward the barrier on her back. She screamed. Sephiroth ran toward her.
The monster growled and pulled again. Aeris felt a whoosh of air as her head and shoulders passed through the barrier. The monster stood over her looking down. A drop of saliva spattered on her face. Sephiroth grabbed her feet and pulled. Aeris slid back through the barrier, but a good length of her hair was still on the other side.
The monster tugged and she found herself sliding through the barrier again. She screamed. The creature reached for her with its free hand. Aeris saw a flash of silver. The pressure on her hair disappeared. Howling in pain, the creature danced away from her waving a stump in the air. Leaning partially out of the barrier Sephiroth was reaching down for Aeris when the monster rushed back and slapped him with its other hand. Sephiroth was knocked back inside.
He rolled to his feet quickly. He leaned through the barrier, slashing at the monster. It kept darting forward trying to grab at Aeris.
"You've got to pull yourself back inside!" shouted Sephiroth, holding it off. "If you don't, the barrier will force you all the way out. You'll be trapped here with this monster! Pull yourself in!"
He was right. Aeris could feel the barrier pushing her through to the monsters side. She braced her hands against the ground and pushed against the force. She pushed herself back a few inches. There was another tug on her hair.
The dying girl was holding a strand in her hand. "Kill me."
"I can't," said Aeris. "Let go of me."
The girl shook her head. "Kill me."
The barrier pushed Aeris out another two inches. She shoved herself back again. The girl tugged her hair.
"Help me," she said.
"Aeris!" shouted Sephiroth. "We'll be changing worlds in a few more seconds. If you don't get in now, you'll stay here!"
The monster rushed toward him. Sephiroth slashed a line across the hairy chest. The beast roared and stumbled away from him. The barrier was pushing him further into the monsters den. Sephiroth fought to push himself back inside.
"If you won't kill me, then die with me!" The girls expression turned murderous.
Pulling herself forward, she put out her other hand and got a better grip on Aeris' hair. She pulled with all her might.
Aeris felt herself sliding forward.
"Let go of me!" she screamed. She tried to roll over and sit up to get more leverage, but she couldn't quite accomplish it. The girl grabbed more of her hair.
"Stop it!" Aeris slid out to her waist. She pulled back desperately. Her head was on fire.
Sephiroth saw what was happening. He feigned a move toward Aeris. The monster, thinking it had a chance to grab him, rushed forward. Sephiroth turned back and stabbed it through the chest. The horrible eyes went blank. It sank to the ground.
Sephiroth pulled himself back into the barrier and ran to Aeris. He reached out and grabbed one of her hands. He pulled. He dragged her in up to her shoulders.
"No!" blood was running freely from the dying girls mouth. "I won't let you!"
Sephiroth grabbed as much of Aeris' hair as he could. He was stronger. He pulled most of it back through the barrier, but the girl wouldn't let go of the ends. She allowed herself to be pulled forward instead. Sephiroth didn't hesitate. Raising his sword, he slashed off the ends of Aeris and yanked her back inside.
"No!" The dying girls voice sank to a whisper. The light in her eyes dimming out. "Don't leave me here."
Then she was gone as the barrier thickened and became opaque. Sephiroth put his sword away. Aeris was shivering. He put his arms around her. She didn't resist.
"Are you all right?"
"I'm f-fine," she said. "If you hadn't-"
Her eyes grew large.
"You cut my hair!"
"Only a little," he said. "It's still long and just as beautiful as it ever was."
Aeris pulled away from him and examined the ends of her hair. She looked up at him with rage in her eyes. "You cut my hair!"
"It wasn't that much."
"If I'd wanted my hair cut, I would have cut it myself!"
"Fine!" he snapped. "The next time you fall through the barrier, and something grabs you, don't look for me to rescue you!"
He turned his back on her.
Aeris looked at the ends of her hair and thought about how close she'd come to being trapped in that other world. She sighed.
"I'm sorry Sephiroth," she said.
He turned around and looked at her.
"Thank you for rescuing me."
He didn't answer right away. Aeris turned around and walked to the center of their prison. Her head hung low.
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